Sometimes it’s pretty clear that you need new tires, such as when you experience a flat, but how do you tell before it reaches that potentially unsafe juncture? This past year the importance of tire care and maintenance jumped to the headlines after the California Highway Patrol finished their investigation in the accident that killed actor Paul Walker and documented that the age of the tires on his car may have been a factor in the accident. No matter what type of vehicle you drive you need to pay attention to your tires to make sure they are still in good condition.
Tips For Proper Tire Care
Check Your Tire Tread Depth
Ideally, the depth of your tire tread should never been less than 1/16 of an inch, anything less and your tires will not grip as well as needed. When driving on slippery roads you have a higher risk of losing control of the car if your tread is worn down.
There are special tools to measure your tread depth, which can be purchased from your local automotive store or online and many even combo as a tire gauge. In a pinch you can use a coin to check your tire tread depth. To do that take a penny and insert it into the tread with Lincoln’s head facing down. If you are able to see his entire head it is time to get new tires.
These days most tires have a wear indicator to help drivers tell when it’s time to replace the tires. Thin lines running perpendicular to the tread will appear as the tires get worn down. When you look at your tires if more than a few are visible it’s time to consider getting new tires.
Even if a set of tires don’t have a bunch of miles on them over time the rubber breaks down and will need to be replaced. The rubber will start to crack and over time this will cause the steel belts in the tread to separate or could cause a leak to happen. In worst case scenarios, this means the tire is close to blowing out.
Doing a visual inspection of the tires is the easiest way to check for this. Look for cracks or grooves on the side of the tire. If you see any, it’s time to get new tires.
Bumps on the Tire
This doesn’t happen as often, but sometimes the outer surface of the tire gets weak and the rubber starts to budge out. If this is happening to a tire, you need to immediately replace it since this is a huge indicator that the tire is close to blowing out.
Make Your Tires Last Longer
To help increase the life of your tires there are a few things you can do:
- Keep your tires aligned – Improperly balanced tires or misaligned car increase wear and tear.
- Avoid bumpy roads – Roads with a lot of potholes and in general disrepair will also wreak havoc on your tires
- Don’t be a lead foot – Accelerating quickly and hitting the breaks hard a lot also contribute to wear and tear on your tires.
- Keep your tires properly inflated – Under and over inflated tires wear quicker than those that are properly inflated